Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4991

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2009
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4991

PERIOD COVERED: 5am December 11 – 5am December 14, 2009 (DOY 345/10:00z-348/10:00z)


S/C 12047

WFC3 CSM Mechanism Remapping

WFC3’s Side-2 CSM (Channel Select Mechanism) has exhibited behavior indicating that the resolver counts for given angular positions have changed since its last remapping in 2008. This is not an unexpected behavior for this resolver as it has been mapped and remapped several time in the past with the first mapping in 2003 and remappings occurring in 2007 and 2008. The exact mechanical or electrical cause for the change is unclear (several theories exist), but from past experience, the mappings remain stable unless the resolver is subjected to severe vibration as seen during acoustic testing in 2007 and now flight in May of this year. See PR 63799 for additional comments or information.

Remapping should provide a long-term and accurate problem resolution.

COS/FUV 12022

The Chemical Composition of AGN Outflows

We propose a simultaneous Chandra LETGS – HST/COS observation of the bright Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 509, within half a year from an approved large XMM-Newton monitoring campaign. Combining 180 ks LETGS time and 10 orbits of COS time with the XMM-Newton RGS spectrum, we will obtain accurate abundances of C, N, O, Ne, Si, S, and Fe over a broad range of ionization parameter. This allows us to determine directly the contributions from various supernova types and intermediate mass stars to the chemical enrichment processes in galaxy cores. It also will reveal directly the chemical composition of the outflow that enriches the surrounding diffuse medium. Our team has successfully executed a similar abundances campaign on Mrk 279.

WFC3/IR/S/C 11929

IR Dark Current Monitor

Analyses of ground test data showed that dark current signals are more reliably removed from science data using darks taken with the same exposure sequences as the science data, than with a single dark current image scaled by desired exposure time. Therefore, dark current images must be collected using all sample sequences that will be used in science observations. These observations will be used to monitor changes in the dark current of the WFC3-IR channel on a day-to-day basis, and to build calibration dark current ramps for each of the sample sequences to be used by Gos in Cycle 17. For each sample sequence/array size combination, a median ramp will be created and delivered to the calibration database system (CDBS).

WFC3/IR 11928

WFC3/IR Low-Frequency Flat and Geometric Distortion

Multiple observations of globular cluster Omega Cen at multiple infrared wavelengths of IR detector will be used to derive filter dependency of low-frequency sensitivity (L_flat fields) across of IR detector and its time variation. Additionally, the same data will be also used to derive filter-dependant geometric distortion of the detector and its time- dependency.

WFC3/UVIS 11912

UVIS Internal Flats

This proposal will be used to assess the stability of the flat field structure for the UVIS detector throughout the 15 months of Cycle 17. The data will be used to generate on- orbit updates for the delta-flat field reference files used in the WFC3 calibration pipeline, if significant changes in the flat structure are seen.

WFC3/UVIS/IR 11909

UVIS Hot Pixel Anneal

The on-orbit radiation environment of WFC3 will continually generate new hot pixels. This proposal performs the procedure required for repairing those hot pixels in the UVIS CCDs. During an anneal, the two-stage thermo-electric cooler (TEC) is turned off and the four-stage TEC is used as a heater to bring the UVIS CCDs up to ~20 deg. C. As a result of the CCD warmup, a majority of the hot pixels will be fixed; previous instruments such as WFPC2 and ACS have seen repair rates of about 80%. Internal UVIS exposures are taken before and after each anneal, to allow an assessment of the procedure’s effectiveness in WFC3, provide a check of bias, global dark current, and hot pixel levels, as well as support hysteresis (bowtie) monitoring and CDBS reference file generation. One IR dark is taken after each anneal, to provide a check of the IR detector.

WFC3/UVIS 11908

Cycle 17: UVIS Bowtie Monitor

Ground testing revealed an intermittent hysteresis type effect in the UVIS detector (both CCDs) at the level of ~1%, lasting hours to days. Initially found via an unexpected bowtie-shaped feature in flatfield ratios, subsequent lab tests on similar e2v devices have since shown that it is also present as simply an overall offset across the entire CCD, i.e., a QE offset without any discernable pattern. These lab tests have further revealed that overexposing the detector to count levels several times full well fills the traps and effectively neutralizes the bowtie. Each visit in this proposal acquires a set of three 3×3 binned internal flatfields: the first unsaturated image will be used to detect any bowtie, the second, highly exposed image will neutralize the bowtie if it is present, and the final image will allow for verification that the bowtie is gone.

WFC3/UVIS 11907

UVIS Cycle 17 Contamination Monitor

The UV throughput of WFC3 during Cycle 17 is monitored via weekly standard star observations in a subset of key filters covering 200-600nm and F606W, F814W as controls on the red end. The data will provide a measure of throughput levels as a function of time and wavelength, allowing for detection of the presence of possible contaminants.

WFC3/UVIS 11905

WFC3 UVIS CCD Daily Monitor

The behavior of the WFC3 UVIS CCD will be monitored daily with a set of full-frame, four-amp bias and dark frames. A smaller set of 2Kx4K subarray biases are acquired at less frequent intervals throughout the cycle to support subarray science observations. The internals from this proposal, along with those from the anneal procedure (Proposal 11909), will be used to generate the necessary superbias and superdark reference files for the calibration pipeline (CDBS).

ACS/WFC3 11879

CCD Daily Monitor (Part 1)

This program comprises basic tests for measuring the read noise and dark current of the ACS WFC and for tracking the growth of hot pixels. The recorded frames are used to create bias and dark reference images for science data reduction and calibration. This program will be executed four days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) for the duration of Cycle 17. To facilitate scheduling, this program is split into three proposals. This proposal covers 352 orbits (22 weeks) from 31 August 2009 to 31 January 2010.

STIS/CCD 11846

CCD Bias Monitor-Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the bias in the 1×1, 1×2, 2×1, and 2×2 bin settings at gain=1, and 1×1 at gain = 4, to build up high-S/N superbiases and track the evolution of hot columns.

STIS/CCD 11844

CCD Dark Monitor Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

FGS 11789

An Astrometric Calibration of Population II Distance Indicators

In 2002, HST produced a highly precise parallax for RR Lyrae. That measurement resulted in an absolute magnitude, M(V)= 0.61+/-0.11, a useful result, judged by the over ten refereed citations each year since. It is, however, unsatisfactory to have the direct, parallax-based, distance scale of Population II variables based on a single star. We propose, therefore, to obtain the parallaxes of four additional RR Lyrae stars and two Population II Cepheids, or W Vir stars. The Population II Cepheids lie with the RR Lyrae stars on a common K-band Period-Luminosity relation. Using these parallaxes to inform that relationship, we anticipate a zero point error of 0.04 magnitude. This result should greatly strengthen confidence in the Population II distance scale and increase our understanding of RR Lyrae star and Pop. II Cepheid astrophysics.

FGS 11788

The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

Are all planetary systems coplanar? Concordance cosmogony makes that prediction. It is, however, a prediction of extrasolar planetary system architecture as yet untested by direct observation for main sequence stars other than the Sun. To provide such a test, we propose to carry out FGS astrometric studies on four stars hosting seven companions. Our understanding of the planet formation process will grow as we match not only system architecture, but formed planet mass and true distance from the primary with host star characteristics for a wide variety of host stars and exoplanet masses.

We propose that a series of FGS astrometric observations with demonstrated 1 millisecond of arc per-observation precision can establish the degree of coplanarity and component true masses for four extrasolar systems: HD 202206 (brown dwarf+planet); HD 128311 (planet+planet), HD 160691 = mu Arae (planet+planet), and HD 222404AB = gamma Cephei (planet+star). In each case the companion is identified as such by assuming that the minimum mass is the actual mass. For the last target, a known stellar binary system, the companion orbit is stable only if coplanar with the AB binary orbit.


Probing Warm-Hot Intergalactic Gas at 0.5 < z < 1.3 with a Blind Survey for O VI, Ne VIII, Mg X, and Si XII Absorption Systems Currently we can only account for half of the baryons (or less) expected to be found in the nearby universe based on D/H and CMB observations. This “missing baryons problem” is one of the highest-priority challenges in observational extragalatic astronomy. Cosmological simulations suggest that the baryons are hidden in low-density, shock-heated intergalactic gas in the log T = 5 – 7 range, but intensive UV and X-ray surveys using O VI, O VII, and O VIII absorption lines have not yet confirmed this prediction. We propose to use COS to carry out a sensitive survey for Ne VIII and Mg X absorption in the spectra of nine QSOs at z(QSO) > 0.89. For the three highest-redshift QSOs, we will also search for Si XII. This survey will provide more robust constraints on the quantity of baryons in warm-hot intergalactic gas at 0.5 < z < 1.3, and the data will provide rich constraints on the metal enrichment, physical conditions, and nature of a wide variety of QSO absorbers in addition to the warm-hot systems. By comparing the results to other surveys at lower redshifts (with STIS, FUSE, and from the COS GTO programs), the project will also enable the first study of how these absorbers evolve with redshift at z < 1. By combining the program with follow-up galaxy redshift surveys, we will also push the study of galaxy-absorber relationships to higher redshifts, with an emphasis on the distribution of the WHIM with respect to the large-scale matter distribution of the universe. WFC3/IR 11696 Infrared Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time We propose to use the unique power of WFC3 slitless spectroscopy to measure the evolution of cosmic star formation from the end of the reionization epoch at z>6 to the close of the galaxy-building era at z~0.3.Pure parallel observations with the grisms have proven to be efficient for identifying line emission from galaxies across a broad range of redshifts. The G102 grism on WFC3 was designed to extend this capability to search for Ly-alpha emission from the first galaxies. Using up to 250 orbits of pure parallel WFC3 spectroscopy, we will observe about 40 deep (4-5 orbit) fields with the combination of G102 and G141, and about 20 shallow (2-3 orbit) fields with G141 alone.

Our primary science goals at the highest redshifts are: (1) Detect Lya in ~100 galaxies with z>5.6 and measure the evolution of the Lya luminosity function, independent of of cosmic variance; 2) Determine the connection between emission line selected and continuum-break selected galaxies at these high redshifts, and 3) Search for the proposed signature of neutral hydrogen absorption at re-ionization. At intermediate redshifts we will (4) Detect more than 1000 galaxies in Halpha at 0.53 kpc

Cosmological simulation predicts that highly ionized gas plays an important role in the formation and evolution of galaxies and their interplay with the intergalactic medium. The NASA HST and FUSE missions have revealed high-velocity CIV and OVI absorption along extragalactic sightlines through the Galactic halo. These highly ionized high- velocity clouds (HVCs) could cover 85% of the sky and have a detection rate higher than the HI HVCs. Two competing, equally exciting, theories may explain the origin of these highly ionized HVCs: 1) the “Galactic” theory, where the HVCs are the result of feedback processes and trace the disk-halo mass exchange, perhaps including the accretion of matter condensing from an extended corona; 2) the “Local Group” theory, where they are part of the local warm-hot intergalactic medium, representing some of the missing baryonic matter of the Universe. Only direct distance determinations can discriminate between these models. Our group has found that some of these highly ionized HVCs have a Galactic origin, based on STIS observations of one star at z<5.3 kpc. We propose an HST FUV spectral survey to search for and characterize the high velocity NV, CIV, and SiIV interstellar absorption toward 24 stars at much larger distances than any previous searches (4 8} not easily probed by any other means. {2} The dust extinction in the rest- frame UV, and therefore a correction to their present star-formation rates. Taken together, these two quantities will yield the star-formation histories of Lyman alpha galaxies, which form fully half of the known galaxies at z=4-6. They will tell us whether these are young or old galaxies by straddling the 4000A break. Data from NICMOS is essential for these compact and faint {i=25-26th magnitude AB} high redshift galaxies, which are too faint for good near-IR photometry from the ground.


Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be investigated.)


#12118 WFC3 Status Buffer Message (716) MECH_BLOCK_NOT_INITIALIZED @ 345/10:57:15z During the WFC3 CSM resolver mapping to step 42, the over-travel switch activated, shutting down the CSM motor.

Observations affected: S/C Proposal #12047

#12121 GSAcq(1,0,1) @348/03:13:13z failed to RGA hold due to Scan Step Limit Exceeded @348/03:15:17z. REAcq(1,0,1) @348/04:23:18z was successful.

Observations affected: WFC3 #1 Proposal #11732


#18779-1 Recover from WFC3 CSM Over-travel @ 345/14:35z


                       SCHEDULED           SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSAcq                7                   7
FGS REAcq               10                  10
OBAD with Maneuver       5                   5


SpaceRef staff editor.